St. Andrew Presbyterian Church members sang in unison at the beginning of their morning worship services Sunday, sharing a harmony founded 150 years ago.
The Denton church was established in November 1862, and a special worship service was held on Sunday for members and the community to commemorate the anniversary. State Rep. Myra Crownover and Mayor Mark Burroughs attended the service and presented proclamations honoring the church’s history.
Burroughs noted that the church has become essential to the community because of all the services it has provided over the years.
The church currently operates an after-school program for elementary students and a soup kitchen for Denton’s homeless. St. Andrew is also known for its music program, which works closely with the University of North Texas.
Burroughs proclaimed Dec. 2 as St. Andrew Presbyterian Church Day, encouraging the community to take part in the church’s anniversary celebrations.
The church sanctuary was packed, with almost every space in the pews occupied for the sermon, communion and benediction.
“It’s always pretty packed,” member Carry Hilts said. “I think everyone is in tune to the church’s history and that helps with turnout. The old members and even the new members take pride in this church and the service it conducts for God.”
Service concluded with a luncheon in the church’s recreation center. Members were served a Scottish-inspired meal that included braised beef, potatoes, red cabbage and berry trifle with shortbread.
Crownover, a church member for more than 30 years, said reaching 150 years is a remarkable feat and illustrates how important the church is to the people of the community.
“I’ve worshipped here for several years, and it’s important to remember how it all started because we need to remember how good our Lord has been to us,” she said.
In 1862, six families led by the Rev. R.R. Dunlap organized the church, which was then known as First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, according to church leaders. The church members built Denton’s first permanent church building in 1874 on the corner of West Oak and Bolivar streets, east of the church’s current facility.
The small wooden structure was short-lived, burning down in December 1875. However, the congregation soon raised funds for a new building, replacing it within three months.
Members began construction of the current sanctuary in 1941, and the first worship service there was held the following year.
During the 1950s, the church’s membership began to grow steadily, doubling the budget and giving the church the opportunity to expand by purchasing land. Several name changes followed until 1959, when the congregation voted to change its name for the final time to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .